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France

French press review 20 January 2016

media DR

In this morning French Press review, the newspapers do what they do best: worry. Libération worries about what will happened to Renault and Le Figaro is worried about the fate of French families. Both La Croix and Slate think we shouldn't forget that sexual harassment is a European problem.

We start with Le Figaro, which worries about the fate of families today. Specifically, it is is worried that French people are not having enought babies anymore.

On average, French women had 1,99 children in 2015, against 2,02 in 2014 - Le Figaro seems to think this is symbolic even though France's birth rate is still the highest in Europe.

The paper blames President François Hollande's policies on the subject that saw a three billion euro cut from the state budget.

"If François Hollande failed to reverse the unemployment rate, he has succeeded in reversing the birth rate. Sad record" says an editorial.

And on the topic of Le Figaro,  also has a few numbers and figures on families in France.

One of them is the number of marriages in 2015: 23 .000. Right under this number, you'll find this figure: 8000 - this time it's what Le Figaro calls "same-sex unions".

It's just two small words, but it tells you a lot about how the newspaper sees same-sex couples.

The paper seems to forget that those unions are actual weddings, and have been legal since 2013.

Three years later, only the French far right uses "same-sex union" to describe a "same-sex mariage", a way for them to make a disctinction between gay and straight couples.

Libération headlines on French car-maker Renault this morning. The newspaper has four pages on this story.

Renault said yesterday it was recalling 15,000 vehicles to check their engines. It follows the conclusions of a government-appointed commission that said Renault diesel cars failed pollution tests.

While this won't be as bad as the Volkswagen's scandal, it will hurt Renault according to Libé - a shame really given that the company was doing  so well this year, with a growth of 3 percent globally.

Libé hopes this won't lead to a cut in the numbers of Renault's employees - there's still 50.000 people working for the car-maker in France. However, the one that should be worried, Renault said,  is the French state: it still owns 19% of Renault.

Catholic daily La Croix has a story on the Cologne sex attacks.

The paper takes a look at the story currently rocking Germany. On new year's eve, hundreds of women reported that they had been sexually assaulted on the streets of Cologne - some of the suspects are asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

All of that, says La Croix, prompted a debate on culture differences. Some argued that those attacks could be explained by the facts that migrants come from ultra-sexist societies.

But, says La Croix, let's not forget that in Europe, women are also victims of abuse.

In Sweden, there's 100 rapes a day.  "Migrants are perfect culprits, but the only sure thing is that 98% [of those attacks] are done by men" said an activist to the newspaper.

European societies are far from perfect on this issue, which is why Slate France is running an article on this exact issue...

Slate reminds its readers that while the Germans - and Europeans - are outraged by what happened in Cologne, rape "has been a component of the German society for centuries".

The article talks about the Munich Beer Festival which is described as a place where sexual harassment and assaults are common.

It's harder to get more German than the Munich Beer Festival - but it doesn't mean that women are safe there, concludes Slate.

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